Sinking By The Stern – Union Influence

March 2, 2010 06:10

IBD Editorials 03/01/2010

Union Influence: The White House picks its most frequent visitor to sit on its deficit commission. He believes in big government, in big spending, and that the workers of the world should unite. What could go wrong?

Computer security firms have been known to hire the best former hackers because they know best how to stop others like them. But the appointment of Andy Stern, president of the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), to a bipartisan commission to come up with ways to deal with the rapidly rising federal budget deficit is like having a serial arsonist organize Fire Prevention Week.

Government employment is the only growth sector in the economy right now, and unions that represent government workers such as the SEIU are growing apace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2009, for the first time ever, more public-sector employees (7.9 million) belonged to a union than private-sector employees (7.4 million), despite there being five times more wage and salary workers in the private sector.

Stern wants to see this trend continue. When the White House released its visitor logs last October, he was found to be the most frequent guest, stopping by 22 times, more than congressional leaders, Cabinet members and heads of state.

He visited the White House so often that Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, called for an investigation of whether this constituted lobbying in violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Stern is not registered as a lobbyist, and these were not mere courtesy calls.

The SEIU, along with other unions, supports the nationalization of health care as long as the higher taxes required for this big government, big spending program don’t apply to them. Stern and other union bosses, like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, helped carve out a union exemption from the taxation of “Cadillac” insurance plans.

When Scott Brown was on his way to his Massachusetts victory to become the 41st vote against the health care bill written behind closed doors by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the SEIU jumped in with manpower and money.

The purple shirts of the SEIU sprang into action with a major ad buy, trying to pull the Senate candidacy of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley from the jaws of defeat. The buy size of $685,000, extracted from the union dues of not-always-willing workers, was one of the biggest of the race.

Stern says that if those who disagree with command-and-control government do not bow to the power of persuasion, they will bow to the persuasion of power. Certainly Kenneth Gladney found out about the persuasiveness of power when thugs wearing purple SEIU shirts beat him up when he tried to sell “Don’t Tread on Me” paraphernalia outside a Missouri town hall meeting on health care.

Stern has also said: “What we’re working toward is building a global organization. Because ‘workers of the world unite’ is not just a slogan anymore; it’s a way we are going to have to do our work.” In the SEIU’s worldview, there’s no room for dissent or even a free market. Everything must be controlled by government and run by union members. Karl Marx, call your office.

Stern is an odd choice for the deficit commission simply because he believes, as Vice President Joe Biden does, that we must keep spending to avoid going bankrupt. In testimony before Rep. Barney Frank’s House Committee on Financial Services on Feb. 23, Stern made it clear that fiscal restraint is not high on his agenda.

Stern testified that “as (New York Times columnist) Paul Krugman says, and I believe, ‘We are in the aftermath of a severe financial crisis which has led to mass job destruction. And right now we need more of that deficit spending because millions of Americans are blighted by high unemployment, and the government should be doing everything it can to bring unemployment down.'” And bring union employment up, Andy?

You don’t reduce spending and deficits by appointing to a deficit commission a union boss who believes in increasing both.

Help Make A Difference By Sharing These Articles On Facebook, Twitter And Elsewhere: